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I was so afraid ….

I was looking in the mirror today and I can't believe it's been exactly one month since my parotid surgery at UCLA with Dr. Maie St John. I am healing so well that the scars are barely visible. None of it would be possible without the skillful hands of Dr St John who took great care to excise a plum size tumor located in a very difficult location on my face. Facial nerve damage are not uncommon with parotid surgery, but Dr. St John always reassured me that I would be fine under her skillful scalpels, and I was!

A bit of back story -

Four years ago, I noticed a small hard lump between my ear and jaw area. I went to a dentist and later to my local ENT to check out the lump. Unfortunately they both misdiagnosed the lump as a simple cyst and the lump grew larger in subsequent years. I was finally correctly diagnosed with a biopsy with the scary news of having a parotid tumor. It's not a common tumor and not many ENT surgeons in my local area are familiar with the technique of removal without damaging facial nerves. It took me another year to research and interview prospective Head and Neck surgeons around the country. In the end I found that the best qualified surgeon with the most experience was only 30 miles from my home at UCLA Head and Neck Dept. I found Dr Maie St John!

Dr St John's resume was very impressive with her MD and PhD degrees from Yale, as well as her many awards and professorship/department chair at UCLA Head and Neck dept. But it was Dr St John's genuine warmth and confidence that impressed me the most at our first meeting. To this day I am in awe of how she wears so many hats; mother, physician, teacher, mentor, wife and research scientist etc etc and still have so much energy to fill a room with radiance and genuine warmth! She exudes quiet confidence which was what I needed most when I was so so afraid of even the idea of this long and complicated parotid surgery.

Here I am, one month later, and my family and I could not be more thankful for the great result thanks to Dr St John and her wonderful team of surgeons-( I need to write a separate praise for the amazing Dr Nabili), anesthesiologist and Residents. I can't thank Dr St John enough and happy to to thank her here with words.

By the way , she gives amazing hugs !

With aloha,
Frances


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